OneSpot Turns Earned Media Into Targeted Ads

Matt-CohenThe chances of finding a company website that does not include a blog or other form of earned media is rare these days.

While most companies understand the value of promoting their brand through earned media, many stumble when it comes to driving audiences to that content. The Texas-based startup OneSpot is tackling this issue by helping brands turn their content into targeted ads.

To produce the ads, clients give OneSpot access to their RSS feed or other source of content and, using a template, OneSpot creates ads that include a headline, image and a few lines of information. The company then sends a link to the ads for the client to approve or edit.

From there, OneSpot’s machine-learning system comes into play, explained OneSpot’s president and founder, Matt Cohen.

“At the heart of our company is a system that predicts the likelihood of engagement with an ad and the value of that engagement,” Cohen said. “To do that we use thousands of variables to help us accurately bid for inventory.”

The company builds profiles of users based on cookies, IP addresses and other data points that it targets the ads against. OneSpot works with the “usual suspects” in ad exchanges, according to Cohen, such as DoubleClick, Microsoft Ad Exchange, Facebook’s Exchange and AppNexus.

To target ads across mobile devices, OneSpot uses identifiers such as Apple’s Identifier For Advertising (IDFA) and mainly uses the inventory from traditional exchanges, but is looking into working with pure mobile exchanges in the coming quarters, Cohen said.

OneSpot’s client roster includes consumer-facing and B2B companies such as Unilever, Dell, Rackspace, Johnson & Johnson, Mutual Mobile and Monetate.

OneSpot’s overall goal is to make the creation and delivery of ads as simple as possible, Cohen added. “Optimizing each piece of content presents a huge opportunity for real-time bidding, but there’s an incredible amount of complexity in RTB that makes it challenging for marketers,” he said, “so we try to hide as much of that complexity as we can for our clients.”

Chris Boyles, content director of Mutual Mobile, an app development and marketing firm, said he appreciates the “automatic” quality of OneSpot’s platform. The company, in which WPP Digital acquired a minority stake this summer, turned to OneSpot to help it promote its new blog, The Push.

If an ad isn’t getting many clicks on a site, Boyles noted, “We can quickly see that in the reports, but since OneSpot’s algorithm does a good job of deciding where to place the ad and monitoring the results, we rarely have to make a manual decision, which saves us a lot of time.”

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